What is Heart Disease in Cats?
Heart disease refers to any problem which impairs the function or structure of the heart. Common heart disorders include Cardiac Valvular Disease, this is where a heart valve is not working properly and leaking therefore reducing the ability of the heart to pump blood, and Myocardial Disease, this involve changes to the heart muscle itself and so again effects the efficiency of the heart to pump blood. Low blood pressure and poor renal function will lead to retention of water and sodium. Any heart defect will cause a risk of renal failure and will eventually lead to Heart failure where the heart is unable to supply the body with enough oxygen and nutrients to function properly. There are factors which may effect the likelihood of a pet developing heart disease such as its age; it is more common in older animals and obese pets due to the extra strains and pressures the heart faces due to excess body fat and weight.
Symptoms of Heart Disease Include;
If your pet is displaying any of these signs then make an appointment to see your veterinary surgeon.
What Diet Should I feed my cat with heart failure?
Heart disease cannot be reversed but with medication, lifestyle changes and correct nutrition a pet with heart disease can lead a happy and relatively normal life. Medication often involves diuretics – to help remove excess fluid. If your pet is overweight you may be advised to diet it, and exercise will have to be monitored so as not to cause too much work for the heart. Nutrition can play a huge part in helping slow the progression of heart disease and support its function. The diet will need to supply all the nutrients the pet needs to function every day but to help reduce the workload of the heart by reducing fluid retention. The diet needs to be highly palatable due to in-appetence, there needs to be a reduced amount of protein but the protein supplied must be of high quality and biological value, it needs to be low in sodium to reduce the hearts workload. Taurine needs to be included to support the hearts function, and nutrients and water soluble vitamins need to be included to replace those lost due to the diuretic medication.
Diets recommended for cats with Heart Disease: